Mahailuppallama Buddha Statue

Mahailuppallama Buddha Statue (Sinhala: මහඉලුප්පල්ලම බුද්ධ ප්‍රථිමාව) is an ancient Buddha statue discovered from a paddy field in Mahailuppallama village in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. It is presently placed within a site belonging to the Agriculture Faculty of the University of Peradeniya (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Dated to the 2nd-3rd century A.D., this statue is supposed to be a work of Andra country, India (Chutiwongs et al., 2007; Vanarathana Thera, 1990; Wikramagamage, 2004). The robe with convex ridges and heavy swag at the bottom, the round head with Usnisa, full cheeks, and the bi-lobed chin of this statue are characteristically similar to the Buddha images of the Amaravati tradition of India (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The statue is believed to have either been brought to Sri Lanka from Andra or sculptured in Sri Lanka by artists hailing from Andra (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Mahailuppallama Buddha image is thought to be a mother statue for the other standing Buddha images sculptured during the first millennium of the Anuradhapura Period (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). Fragments of the type of this Buddha image have been found from Jaffna and the premises of Girihandu Viharaya in Ambalantota (Vanarathana Thera, 1990).

The statue
The statue is 1.7 m tall and has been carved out from a marble-like limestone block (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The right hand of the statue which was probably in the pose of Abhaya-mudra is broken off but a new hand has been fixed to it now (Chutiwongs et al., 2007; Vanarathana Thera, 1990; Wikramagamage, 2004). The left hand is in the ring-hand attitude keeping the robe in position (Wikramagamage, 2004). The robe covers the left shoulder but leaves the right shoulder bare. The eyes are believed to have been studded with gems which are disappeared today (Wikramagamage, 2004). 

The scattered ruins around the site indicate that there was an image house to accommodate the statue (Wikramagamage, 2004). Siripathul Gal and Yantra Gal have also been discovered from the site. Available artefacts indicate that this religious site belonged to the Abhayagiri Sect (Wikramagamage, 2004).
1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2007. Sri Lanka Murthi: Buddha (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Buddha). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. pp.42-43.
2) Vanarathana Thera, K., 1990. [Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)] Section I: 248 BC - 500 A.D. Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series: Vol. IV: Sculpture. p.26.
3) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.41.

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This page was last updated on 2 January 2023

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